Jonathan Turley Says ‘Chilling Effect’ Still Exists For Trump Despite Juan Merchan Partially Lifting Gag Order

Screenshot/Grabien/Fox News

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Font Size:

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said Tuesday that former President Donald Trump still faced a “chilling effect” despite the partial lifting of a gag order in his Manhattan case.

New York Judge Juan Merchan partially lifted an expanded gag order imposed on April 1 Tuesday, which allows Trump to talk about witnesses and the jury, but maintains prohibitions on Trump talking about the prosecution team and court officials. Turley said that Trump would be hurt by the inability to criticize former Justice Department official Matthew Colangelo, who was part of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s team, during the June 27 debate with President Joe Biden on CNN. (RELATED: Jonathan Turley Rips Jack Smith For ‘Serious Problem Of Restraint’ On Trump Gag Order Request)

“It still is dangling out there, that is part of the problem here is that the uncertainty as to what will constitute a violation,” Turley told “America Reports” guest co-host Gillian Turner. “What Trump wants to talk about is how the criminal system was weaponized in this case and how the Biden administration played a role in that and the key linchpin for many of the critics of this case is this individual, Colangelo, one of the prosecutors. To what extent can he speak about that? It’s still not clear and it’s that uncertainty that creates the chilling effect.”


“But that’s bad enough for free speech,” Turley continued. “It’s even worse when this is one of the issues upon which millions of citizens may be casting their vote.”

Biden’s reelection campaign launched a $50 million ad buy on June 14 highlighting Trump’s May 30 conviction on 34 felony counts of falsification of business records by a Manhattan jury, Axios reported.

Trump supporters expressed doubts about the fairness of the trial, leveling accusations of bias toward Merchan, who made three donations via ActBlue in 2020, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records: A $15 donation to Biden’s presidential campaign and two $10 donations, one to a Democratic group called “Stop Republicans” and one to a “Progressive Turnout Project.” Merchan’s daughter Loren’s firm helped Democrats raise at least $93 million off the former president’s indictment in the case, according to the New York Post.

“This is clearly something that has affected many independent voters who don’t like the look of it,” Turley said. “We can debate the other cases, but many of us view Manhattan as a raw political prosecution and that is going to be part of the debate and that is going to be part of the election.”

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact